LGBT Advocates Hold Secret Emergency Meeting on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' as Defense Dept. Considers 'Separate But Equal' Soldier Status
Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen will both testify in upcoming hearings on the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell', Politico reports. Said Gates: "We're discussing the timing of it with the committee. Both the chairman and I will testify."
There's troubling information in a report on the intensification of talks over the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal today in the NYT:
Despite the uncertainty of timing, another military official said that the Department of Defense was beginning to look at the practical implications of a repeal — for example, whether it would be necessary to change shower facilities and locker rooms because of privacy concerns, whether to ban public displays of affection on military bases and what to do about troops who are stationed or make port calls in nations that outlaw homosexuality.
Also, the memo to the Joint Chiefs which was "leaked" yesterday calling for holding off on a repeal was not just a memo, it was a draft proposal.
Americablog notes: "It's disturbing that the Pentagon is even talking about this, first of all because gays and lesbians are already in the Pentagon's showers and barracks. So this is a non-issue. The fact that the Pentagon doesn't realize this is simply bizarre. Second, why are we still talking about showers - what is this, 1993? And third, Barack Obama's Pentagon is actually discussing whether an African-American president should endorse the "separate but equal" segregation of a minority? Seriously?"
Kerry Eleveld reports on a secret emergency DADT meeting attended by 20-25 LGBT advocates at Human Rights Campaign headquarters on Monday:
The two-hour long meeting was unusual in that it assembled the advisers to major LGBT political donors from outside the Beltway such as Tim Gill, Jon Stryker and David Bohnett alongside DC-based lobby groups such as HRC, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, the Center for American Progress, and The Palm Center as well as lobbyists with ties to the White House and Congress.
Attendees reported that "strong signals" and threats of "repercussions" had been sent to the White House. Others reported that they had been guaranteed DADT was a top priority for Obama. Some were concerned that top-level staff in the White House was lacking an LGBT power broker.
Sources also indicated the ball is really in the White House’s court at this juncture. “They will be the ones who tell us how they’re going to package this,” said one source.
Those options might include: the President and the Pentagon recommending that the policy change be included in the Department of Defense authorization bill that comes out of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees; amending repeal to the Defense funding bill once it has been reported out of committee; passing stand-alone repeal legislation in both chambers; or tabling the issue for a later date.